Destination: 2050

No, this is not a post of me yearning to be 70 years old in 2050 but the mere postcode of where the ELG family live; otherwise known as Camperdown. When asked the question of where I live and I say Camperdown, the usual response is “ohhh near RPA hospital…” or “oh, near Sydney Uni..?” Both replies are correct but since residing in the 2050 area for the last 14 months, I now know it is much more than the suburb of both a major hospital and university. Situated in the thriving inner west of Sydney, surrounded by Annandale and Leichhardt on one end, Glebe as you stretch closer to the city and Newtown as you head past the hospital to colourful King Street, it is a suburb that I have come to love with its fabulous places to eat and other haunts to go! So, I feel it necessary to update you on the top 5 hotspots of postcode 2050:

1. Franks 

When Mr ELG and I moved into Camperdown, a friend of mine said that Franks was the local place to go to for pizza. A cheap and cheerful number and she recalled that the price of a large pizza was around the $12 mark. She was not wrong there. A family size pizza is $15. In an old fire station house on Parramatta Road, Franks serves up pizza and pasta to go and I almost always order “Franks Special”. Most nights, people pack the place from 6pm and the weekend lunch slots are equally as busy with family lunches packing the tables. Service is quick and the pizza is hot; a terrific combination most can’t go past and I certainly don’t!

2. Deus ex Machina

Part motorbike shop, part restaurant; this phrase from their site sums them up beautifully “Motorcyles for the postmodern world – silk purses out of sows’ ears.” This place also situated on Parramatta Road but closer to the city screams blood, sweat and tears. Oh and great food thrown in for good measure! Deus is iconic in Camperdown and you will likely find Mr ELG, BIT (baby in tow) and I there on a weekend for their spot-on breakfasts. They do a mean eggs hollandaise with Tasmanian salmon, baby spinach and asparagus. And when I wake with a sweet tooth to satisfy, I order the strawberry and lemon pancakes. Out the back there is the shop selling motorbikes (classics and new), clothes, leather jackets and accessories and if your bike needs a tune-up, there’s also a workshop attached. So don your leathers and get to Deus for a bit of grit, noise and bloody good coffee.

3. Butch

Discovering this place with BIT en route to Mothers group one morning, I bought a quick coffee and returned hours later to feast upon one of their homemade pies after spotting it earlier on. If you have read past posts, you will know about my love of pies and this one went above and beyond. Butch is a bit of a hole in the wall, at the bottom of a terrace, on a narrow street in Camperdown and when the winter chill is about, their cafe is one of the only locals that have a cosy fire burning to warm the hands while their food warms your soul.

4. Chef and the Cook

Ever the foodie on the hunt for the right tools to master my trade, this place hits the mark in every regard. I’m sure many a cook would have been in their kitchens at one point wishing for a utensil that somehow was not in their drawer or repertoire whether it be kitchen string to tie a chicken’s legs together before a roast, a piping bag to ice a cupcake, a peeler that leaves your fingers in tact afterwards or a balloon whisk to get enough air through egg whites. I have always thought to buy kitchen string instead of using the string Mr ELG bought at bunnings that’s blue and dreading a Bridget Jones blue soup kitchen moment and last week I finally purchased some along with some flat scales to accurately measure my ingredients. Just recently Chef and the Cook have also started stocking food for sale and have a wonderful Herbies spice selection amongst other jams, couverture chocolate, coloured sea salt and oils galore. So when you can’t be asked to fight the crowds at Peters of Kensington and need the perfect wooden spoon, head to Chef and the Cook for a great selection of tools and industry advice.

5. Camperdown Cellars

At the end of my street is a wonderful thing; Camperdown Cellars. Now there are bottle shops and then there are bottle shops. Not pretentious with their exhausting range of alcohol, top shelf reds and whites, aged whiskys, Penfold Grange and the best cider ever – I think the owners there must look at me with BIT and think; well frankly I can only imagine what they think! OK let’s get back to talking about the cider. One word; Rekorderlig. Mr ELG first tried this drop at a quaint Balmain pub and came home raving about it as if it was the best thing since sliced bread and well I agree with him as it most certainly is! Refined, crisp and clean; the taste of this cider is heavenly and at $8 a bottle is somewhat on the pricier end but well worth it. Served over ice on any afternoon; it is just a little bit of heaven. With flavours in pear, apple, strawberry-lime and a winter version, I recommend heading to the cellars just for this or to satisfy my other two cravings…there is always Pastabilities and tubs of Ben & Jerry’s in their freezers too. So you now know where to find me at 5pm too on any given day when I have no idea what to cook for dinner and I don’t want to go to Coles.

Now, I know I said top 5 but the new mum in me can’t help but add one more and rave about the bright red and green toystore at the end of my street (opposite the Cellars and across the road from Chef and the Cook)  – Kidstuff. A treasure trove of toys for kids of all ages; it stocks all the big brands as well as the obscure and unique. Whether your child is at rattle stage, building blocks, painting, gaming or just plain playing, you never walk out of this store empty handed. And one of the best things is that they do free wrapping with rainbow ribbons.

So type 2050 into your GPS or catch a bus down Parramatta Road and come visit, come play and always go where your heart desires.

Franks @ 137 Parramatta Road, Camperdown NSW 2050

Deus ex Machina @ 102-104 Parramatta Road, Camperdown NSW 2050

Butch @ 130 Church Street, Camperdown NSW 2050

Chef and the Cook @ 28-32 Mallett Street, Camperdown NSW 2050

Camperdown Cellars @ 140 Parramatta Road, Camperdown NSW 2050

Kidstuff @ 101 Parramatta Road, Camperdown NSW 2050

Little Italy on Hastings Street, Noosa

I always maintain…a great restaurant is one you go back to twice, three times and then who’s really counting at that point? Especially when it’s located in another state, it’s 2 hours away and that’s just flight time.

In terms of what Aussies love to eat, I am certain that Italian food rates up there in most people’s top 5 and well for me it certainly does. I know Chinese, Indian and Japanese are favourites too in terms of our ever-evolving palates but for me, #1 is my love for a food that hails from that gorgeous Mediterranean boot of a country! I love to whip up a spag bol after work (from scratch – none of this bottled sauce for me please!), I often crave for rich lasagne with lots of bechamel sauce, I have boxes of Pastabilities Roast Duck with Star Anise ravioli in my freezer (just in case) and I cannot ever go past ordering spaghetti/linguine/fettuccine/tagilatelle/pappardelle marinara when dining in an Italian restaurant. I immediately scan a menu for this when I am in a restaurant and if I have been there before I know what I am ordering before I have sat down.

This was the case when I went back to Lindoni’s on Hastings Street, Noosa at the beginning of March this year. It was just under two years ago that I was in Noosa for the jazz festival and I dined at this al fresco Italian restaurant with black and white checkerboard tiles, handpainted pictures of Positano adorning the walls and knowledgeable waiters milling around telling me of the night’s specials. Grazing over the menu which was in both Italian and English, my eyes quickly picked up on Fettuccine Marinara al Cartoccio. The waiter explained that this was not your average marinara but baked and served in a paper bag and that this was a “fine decision!” Fine was an understatement ~ magnificent and eternally etched into memory is a better description!

Two weekends ago, I was back in Noosa on a family weekend. I said to my sisters who share my love of Italian food, “I promise this will be the highlight.” I didn’t lie. While the others purveyed the menu and ordered other tantalising tit-bits, one of my sisters and I ordered just as I had two years ago. Not just your average waiter, Tony also picked up my growing 32-week belly and omitted the mussels on my order this time around (as I mentioned above; ever-knowledgeable and on the ball). Just as my hunger pains peaked, out came the dish ~ the baking paper was removed with a flick of the wrist and out poured a steaming yet delightful version of Marinara and for the next 20 minutes it was all about me and the plate and my love affair continued.

The home-made tiramisu finished off the night for me and confirmed that when in Noosa, do as the Italian lovers do and go to Lindoni’s. Book so you’re not disappointed as the restaurant fills up most nights. And now I wonder when will I get back to Noosa next…?

Lindoni’s @ 13 Hastings Street, Noosa Heads QLD